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Exercise for Health

People are less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV, mobile or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, household chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations especially after going digital for all needs.

We move around less and burn off less energy than people used to. Research suggests that many adults spend more than 10 hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time. People aged over 65 spend 12 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.

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Click here for Sedentary Lifestyles

Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer”. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behavior, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health.

Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down.

Common examples of sedentary behavior include watching TV, mobile using a computer, using the vehicle for short journeys and sitting down to read, talk or listen to music. This type of behavior is thought to increase your risk of developing many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity.

Previous generations were active more naturally through work and manual labor, but today we have to find ways of integrating activity into our daily lives. Whether it’s limiting the time babies spend strapped in their buggies, or encouraging adults to stand up and move frequently, people of all ages need to reduce their sedentary behavior.

This means that each of us needs to think about increasing the types of activities that suit our lifestyle and can easily be included in our daily routine.

Crucially, you can hit your weekly activity target but still be at risk of ill health if you spend the rest of the time sitting or lying down. Find out how to build physical activity and exercise into your day, whatever your age or situation.

Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. Whatever your age, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life.

People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term (chronic) conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

To stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 30 minutes of physical activity on daily basis through a variety of activities. For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.

For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. If you’re working at a moderate intensity you should still be able to talk but you won’t be able to sing the words to a song.

An activity where you have to work even harder is called vigorous intensity activity.

There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it’s vigorous activity because you’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented.

 

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Click here for Physical Activity guidelines –

How to keep baby / toddler active –

Simple ways to get baby moving

  • Lay your baby down on their back so they can kick their legs.
  • Pulling, pushing, grasping and playing with other people are great ways to practice different kinds of movements.
  • Once your baby has started crawling, let them crawl around the floor, but make sure it’s safe first
  • Playing outdoors helps your baby learn about their surroundings.
  • You can take your baby swimming from a very young age – there’s no need to wait until they’ve been vaccinated.

Why tummy time is important

Tummy time helps to build the muscles your baby needs for sitting and crawling. You can start doing tummy time from birth by lying your baby on your chest – but only do this when you’re wide awake and unlikely to fall asleep.

Little and often is best to begin with. Gradually increase the amount of time you do this day by day. Then, when your baby is ready, try doing tummy time on the floor. If your baby has difficulty lifting their head, you can roll up a towel and put it under their armpits. Put some toys nearby for them to reach out to.

Only do tummy time when your baby is awake and alert, and you’re there to keep an eye on them.

Baby bouncers, walkers and seats

It’s important that your baby doesn’t spend too much time in:

Baby walkers or bouncers– these encourage babies to stand on their tiptoes and can delay walking if your baby uses them a lot

Baby carriers and seats– long periods in reclining carriers or seats, or seats that prop your baby in a sitting position, can delay your baby’s ability to sit up on their own

If you do use a baby walker, bouncer or seat, it’s best to use them for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Physical activity for toddlers

Once your child is walking, they should be physically active for at least 180 minutes (three hours) a day, spread throughout the day.

  • Let your toddler walk with you rather than always using the buggy.
  • Toddlers and young children love going to the park, where they can climb and swing or just run around.
  • Toys your child can pick up and move around will help improve their co-ordination and develop the muscles in their arms and hands.
  • Involve your toddler in household tasks like unpacking shopping, tidying or sorting washing.
  • Teach your child songs with actions and encourage them to dance to music.

Watching TV or using a tablet for long periods – or being strapped into a buggy, car seat or highchair – isn’t good for young children.

If you need to make a long car journey, consider taking a break and getting your child out of their seat for a bit.

Enjoy being active together

It’s good to join in with your child’s active play when you can. Have fun showing them how to do new things like running and hopping. Being active together shows your child that activity is enjoyable.

You’re a role model for your child so stay active yourself and try to meet the physical activity guidelines for adults.

Activity for young children with a disability

All babies and young children need to be active, including children with a long-term condition or disability, unless their health professionals give you different advice.

Just like other children, they will enjoy being active and it will help their development. You may need to adapt some activities to suit your child.

Scope has ideas for games all children can play, and the Contact a Family advice service offers information on caring for a disabled child.

Coping with a very active toddler

It can be exhausting keeping up with a toddler who is always on the go. It may help if you:

  • keep to a daily routine– routine can help if your child is restless or difficult; it can also help you stay calm and cope with the strain
  • dedicate time to your child– make sure there are times each day when you give them your full attention
  • avoid difficult situations– for example, keep shopping trips short
  • try to go out every day– go to a park, playground or other safe, open space where your child can run around and use up energy
  • set small goals– help your child to sit still and concentrate for a very short time, perhaps on a book or new toy, then gradually build it up

Does my child have Attention Aeficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

At times you may wonder if your non-stop toddler has ADHD. It’s more likely that your child is just a healthy, energetic toddler.

If you’re worried about how active your child is, talk to your health visitor or GP.

 

Guidelines for 5- to 18-year-olds 

Physical activities guidelines for children and young people ( age between 5 to 18 ).

To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do 3 types of physical activity each week:

  • aerobic exercise
  • exercises to strengthen their bones
  • exercises to strengthen their muscles

To maintain a basic level of health, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need to do:

  • at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – this should range from moderate activity, such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running and tennis, Squash and basketball
  • on 3 days a week, these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles and bones, such as swinging on playground equipment, hopping and skipping, and sports such as gymnastics or tennis

Children and young people should also reduce the time they spend sitting for extended periods of time, including watching TV, with mobile, playing computer games and traveling by car when they could walk or cycle.

Being active for at least 60 minutes a day is linked to better general health, stronger bones and muscles, and higher levels of self-esteem.

What counts as moderate activity?

Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most young people include:

  • walking to school / college
  • playing in the playground
  • riding a scooter
  • skateboarding
  • rollerblading
  • walking the dog
  • cycling on level ground or ground with few hills

Moderate activity raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. One way to tell if your activity is moderate is if you can still talk but cannot sing the words to a song.

What counts as vigorous activity?

There is good evidence vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. A rule of thumb is that 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

There’s currently no recommendation on how long a session of vigorous activity should be for this age group.

Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most young people include:

  • playing chase
  • energetic dancing
  • swimming
  • running
  • gymnastics
  • football
  • rugby
  • martial arts, such as karate
  • cycling fast or on hilly terrain

Vigorous activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If your activity is vigorous, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

What activities strengthen muscles?

Muscle strength is necessary for daily activities, and to build and maintain strong bones, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and help maintain a healthy weight.

For young people, muscle-strengthening activities are those that require them to lift their own body weight or work against a resistance, such as lifting a weight.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities suitable for children include:

  • games such as tug of war
  • swinging on playground equipment bars
  • gymnastics
  • rope or tree climbing
  • sit-ups, press-ups and other similar exercises
  • gymnastics
  • football
  • rugby
  • tennis

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities suitable for young people include:

  • sit-ups, press-ups and other similar exercises
  • gymnastics
  • resistance exercises with exercise bands, weight machines or handheld weights
  • rock climbing
  • football
  • basketball
  • tennis

Children and young people should take part in activities appropriate for their age and stage of development.

What activities strengthen bones?

Examples of bone-strengthening activities for children include:

  • activities that require children to lift their body weight or work against a resistance
  • jumping and climbing activities, combined with the use of playground equipment and toys
  • games such as hopscotch
  • skipping with a rope
  • walking
  • running
  • gymnastics
  • dance
  • football
  • basketball
  • martial arts

Examples of bone-strengthening activities for young people include:

  • dance
  • aerobics
  • weight training
  • running
  • gymnastics
  • football
  • rugby
  • netball
  • hockey
  • badminton
  • tennis
  • skipping with a rope
  • martial arts

Children and young people should take part in activities appropriate for their age and stage of development.

 

Physical activities and guidelines for Adults ( age from 19 to 64 ) –

To stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every day and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every day and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week – for example, two 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

A good rule is that 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days every week.

All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity.

What counts as moderate aerobic activity?

Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most people include:

  • brisk walking
  • water aerobics
  • riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
  • doubles tennis
  • pushing a lawn mower
  • hiking
  • skateboarding
  • rollerblading
  • volleyball
  • basketball

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer.

One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate level is if you can still talk, but you can’t sing the words to a song.

What counts as vigorous activity?

There’s good evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity.

Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most people include:

  • jogging or running
  • swimming fast
  • riding a bike fast or on hills
  • singles tennis
  • football
  • rugby
  • skipping rope
  • hockey
  • aerobics
  • gymnastics
  • martial arts

Vigorous activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

In general, 20 minutes of vigorous activity can give similar health benefits to 30 minutes of moderate activity.

What activities strengthen muscles?

Muscle strength is necessary for:

  • all daily movement
  • to build and maintain strong bones
  • to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure
  • to help maintain a healthy weight

Muscle-strengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is 1 complete movement of an activity, like a bicep curl or a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions.

For each strength exercise, try to do:

  • at least 1 set
  • 8 to 12 repetitions in each set

To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you struggle to complete another repetition.

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it’s at home or in the gym.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities for most people include:

  • lifting weights
  • working with resistance bands
  • doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups
  • heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling
  • yoga

You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same day or on different days as your aerobic activity – whatever’s best for you.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are not an aerobic activity, so you’ll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity.

Some vigorous activities count as both an aerobic activity and a muscle-strengthening activity.

Examples include:

  • circuit training
  • aerobics
  • running
  • football
  • rugby
  • netball
  • hockey

Guidelines for older adults ( above 65 years ) –

Adults aged 65 or older who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility should try to be active daily and should do:

  • at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every day, and
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or

  • 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every day, and
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or

  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week. For example, two 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, and
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

A rule of thumb is that one minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as two minutes of moderate activity.

You should also try to break up long periods of sitting with light activity, as sedentary behavior is now considered an independent risk factor for ill health, no matter how much exercise you do.

Older adults at risk of falls, such as people with weak legs, poor balance and some medical conditions, should do exercises to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week. Examples include yoga, tai chi and dancing.

What counts as moderate aerobic activity?

Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most people include:

  • walking
  • water aerobics
  • ballroom and line dancing
  • riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
  • playing doubles tennis
  • pushing a lawn mower
  • canoeing
  • volleyball

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you’re exercising at a moderate level is if you can still talk but can’t sing the words to a song.

Daily chores such as shopping, cooking or housework don’t count towards your 150 minutes, because the effort isn’t enough to raise your heart rate, but they are important nonetheless, as they break up periods of sitting.

What counts as vigorous aerobic activity?

There is good evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity.

Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most people include:

  • jogging or running
  • aerobics
  • swimming fast
  • riding a bike fast or on hills
  • singles tennis
  • football
  • hiking uphill
  • energetic dancing
  • martial arts

Vigorous activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

In general, 30 minutes of vigorous activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate activity.

What activities strengthen muscles?

Muscle strength is necessary for:

  • all daily movement
  • building and maintaining strong bones
  • regulating blood sugar and blood pressure
  • maintaining a healthy weight

Muscle-strengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, such as a bicep curl or a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions.

For each strength exercise, try to do:

  • at least one set
  • 8 to 12 repetitions in each set

To gain health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you find it hard to complete another repetition.

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether at home or in the gym. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • carrying or moving heavy loads, such as groceries
  • activities that involve stepping and jumping, such as dancing
  • heavy gardening, such as digging or shovelling
  • exercises that use your body weight for resistance, such as push-ups or sit-ups
  • yoga
  • lifting weights

You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same day or on different days as your aerobic activity – whatever’s best for you.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are not an aerobic activity, so you’ll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity.

Some vigorous activities count as both an aerobic activity and a muscle-strengthening activity.

Examples include:

  • circuit training
  • aerobics
  • running
  • football
  • rugby
  • netball
  • hockey

 

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How can I make exercise a part of my regular routine?

  • Make everyday activities more active.Even small changes can help. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk down the hall to a coworker’s office instead of sending an email. Wash the car yourself. Park further away from your destination.
  • Be active with friends and family.Having a workout partner may make you more likely to enjoy exercise. You can also plan social activities that involve exercise. You might also consider joining an exercise group or class, such as a dance class, hiking club, or volleyball team.
  • Keep track of your progress.Keeping a log of your activity or using a fitness tracker may help you set goals and stay motivated.
  • Make exercise more fun.Try listening to music or watching TV while you exercise. Also, mix things up a little bit – if you stick with just one type of exercise, you might get bored. Try doing a combination of activities.
  • Find activities that you can do even when the weather is bad. You can walk in a mall, climb stairs, or work out in a gym even if the weather stops you from exercising outside.

Click here for Exercise Q & A

1. I’m not particularly active, and I haven’t exercised in years. Is it safe for me to start now?

Answer: If you haven’t been active for a long time, it’s important to start out at a low level of effort and work your way up slowly. Beginning slowly will help you become more fit without straining your body. For example, you may want to start with walking, biking, or swimming at a comfortable pace and then gradually do more, or start strengthening exercises with 1- or 2-pound weights and gradually add heavier weights. You may want to talk with your doctor if you decide to start a vigorous exercise program or significantly increase your physical activity.

2. I have a medical condition (such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease). Is it safe for me to exercise?

Answer: Exercise is safe for almost everyone. In fact, studies show that people with arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease benefit from regular exercise and physical activity. In some cases, exercise actually can improve some of these conditions. You may want to talk with your doctor about how your health condition might affect your ability to be active.

3. Isn’t it better for older adults to “take it easy” and save their strength?

Answer: Regular physical activity is very important to the health and abilities of older people. In fact, studies show that “taking it easy” is risky. For the most part, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn’t happen just because they’ve aged. It’s usually because they’re not active.Inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are more active. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.

4. How much physical activity do I need?

Answer: The goal is to achieve at least 30 minutes moderate-intensity endurance activity daily. Being active at least 3 days a week is best, but doing anything is better than doing nothing at all. If you cannot do 150 minutes a week because of a health condition, do as much as your condition allows. Try to do all four types of exercises — endurance, balance, flexibility, and strength. Try to do strength exercises for all of your major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, but don’t do strength exercises of the same muscle group 2 days in a row.

5. How hard should I exercise?

Answer: We can’t tell you exactly how many pounds to lift or how steep a hill you should climb to reach a moderate or vigorous level of exercise because what’s easy for one person might be difficult for another. You should match your activity to your own needs and abilities. Start from where you are and build up from there. Listen to your body. During moderate activity, for instance, you can sense that you are pushing yourself but that you aren’t near your limit. As you become more fit, gradually make your activities more difficult. Generally, the more vigorous the activity and the more time you spend doing it, the more health benefits you will receive.

6. How long do I need to be active before I see results?

Answer: Once you start being physically active, you’ll begin to see results in just a few weeks. You may feel stronger and more energetic than before. You may notice that you can do things more easily, faster, or for longer than before. As you become more fit, you may need to make your activities more challenging to see additional results.

7. Do I get enough physical activity in my regular day-to-day activities?

Answer: One way to find out is to check your Activity Log. Did you list physical activities that get your body moving, such as yard work, walking the dog, raking leaves, or climbing stairs? How about weight training or an aerobics class? There are many ways to be active every day. The key is to do all four of the major types of exercises regularly and increase your level of effort over time.

8. I’m healthy now. Why do I need to be active?

Answer: Research shows that exercise and physical activity can maintain and even improve your health. For example, exercise and physical activity can help you manage and even prevent diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

9. I find it hard to make myself be active. What can I do?

Answer: You’re more likely to keep going if you choose activities you enjoy, if you can fit them into your schedule, if you believe you’ll benefit from them, and if you feel you can do them safely and correctly. Making a contract with a friend or family member also may help you keep your commitment. Setting small, realistic goals, checking your progress, and rewarding yourself when you reach your goal also can help. If you can stick with an exercise routine or physical activity for at least 6 months, it’s a good sign that you’re on your way to making physical activity a regular habit.

10. How do I find time to be active?

Answer: There are a number of ways to fit exercise and physical activity into your schedule. For example, exercise first thing in the morning before your day gets too busy, or combine physical activity with a task that’s already part of your day, such as walking the dog or doing household chores. If you don’t have 30 minutes in your daily routine to be active, look for three 10-minute periods.

11. What kind of equipment do I need? I can’t afford exercise equipment.

Answer: For many activities, you don’t need any equipment or special clothing. All you need for brisk walking, for example, is a pair of comfortable, non-skid shoes. For strength training, you can make your own weights from unbreakable household items. Many communities offer free or low-cost programs for seniors. Check with your local parks and recreation department or senior center about the facilities and programs in your area. In addition, some local fitness centers may offer senior discounts.

12. What if I have an injury or health problem that keeps me from exercising for a while? How do I know if it’s safe for me to start again?

Answer: If you miss a few days or weeks of exercise because of an injury or illness, don’t be discouraged. Once you recover, you can start again and be successful. Talk with your health care provider about when you can resume your regular routine. When you start again, begin at about half the effort you were putting in when you stopped, then gradually build back up. With a little time, you’ll be back at the same, or a better, fitness level.

13. I get tired easily. What is the best physical activity for me?

Answer: Once you become active, you’re likely to have more energy than before. As you do more, you also may notice that you can do things more easily, faster, and for longer than before. Regular, moderate physical activity can help reduce fatigue and even help you manage stress.

14. I’ve been exercising for some time now. Why am I not seeing any more real improvements?

Answer: As your body gets used to a level of exercise, you’ll need to vary your exercise or do more in order to see additional progress. If you are able, do your activities longer, farther, or harder. Do the activities more often, or add new physical activities to your routine.

15. I’m 81 years old. Should I be exercising, and will it make a difference at my age?

Answer: Yes, staying active is important throughout life. Regular exercise and physical activity help you stay strong and fit enough to keep doing the things you enjoy. No matter what your age, you can find activities that meet your fitness level and needs.

16. What kinds of shoes are best for walking or other types of physical activity?

Answer: Look for sensible shoes that support your feet. Make sure they have flat, non-skid soles and are comfortable. Avoid shoes with thick, heavy soles. If tying laces is difficult, look for shoes with Velcro® fasteners. When you buy shoes, try on several pairs so that you’re sure to get a pair that fits well.

17. Do I need to do other exercises in addition to my usual walking routine?

Answer: Most people tend to focus on one type of exercise or activity and think they’re doing enough. Try to do all four types — endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance — because each one has different benefits. Doing one kind also can improve your ability to do the others. In addition, variety helps reduce boredom and risk of injury.

18. Is it better to join an exercise class or group, or exercise on my own?

Answer: There are many ways to be active. The key is to find activities you truly enjoy. If you prefer individual activities, try swimming, gardening, or walking. Dancing or playing tennis may be for you if you enjoy two-person activities. If group activities appeal to you, try a sport such as basketball or join an exercise class. Some people find that going to a gym regularly or working with a fitness trainer helps them stay motivated.

19. If I’m overweight or obese, what kinds of physical activity can I do?

Answer: You can do all kinds of physical activities, including the four types of exercise shown later. Try walking, water exercises, dancing, or weight lifting. Anything that gets you moving — even for only a few minutes a day in the beginning — is a healthy start. Very large people may face special challenges. For example, you may not be able to bend or move easily, or you may feel self-conscious. Facing these challenges is hard — but it can be done. Feel good about what you can do, and pat yourself on the back for trying. It should get easier.

20. I don’t do any kind of physical activity, but I watch my diet and I’m not overweight. Isn’t that enough?

Answer: Eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight are only part of a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity is important to the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults. Being physically active can help you stay strong and fit enough to keep doing the things you enjoy and to stay independent as you get older. Together, healthy habits such as physical activity, a balanced diet, and not smoking will help you achieve the best of health.

 

Make A Plan

Some people find that writing an exercise and physical activity plan helps them keep their promise to be active. See if this works for you. Be sure the plan is realistic for you to do. You might even make a contract with a friend or family member to carry out your plan. Involving another person can help you keep your commitment.

Start out with realistic activities based on how physically active you are now.

Aim for moderate-intensity endurance activities on most or all days of the week. Try to do strength exercises for all of your major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, but don’t exercise the same muscle group 2 days in a row. For example, do upper-body strength exercises on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and lower-body strength exercises on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Or, you can do strength exercises of all of your muscle groups every other day. Don’t forget to include balance and flexibility exercises. You may find it helpful to keep a record of your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises.

When it comes to motivation, the first few months are crucial. If you can stick with physical activities you enjoy, it’s a good sign that you will be able to make exercise and physical activity a regular part of your everyday life.

Track your activities – Once you’ve put your physical activity plan into action, it’s a good idea to keep track of what you’re doing. Tracking your activities will help you stick with your plan and is a good way to make sure you’re including all four types of exercise (endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility) on a regular basis. A record of your activities also is a great way to see your progress over time and can motivate you to keep going.

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Click here for Different type of Exercises

Most important types of exercise –

Strengthening, Stretching, balance and Endurance (Aerobics) exercises will keep you active, mobile and feeling great. 

Exercise is key to good health. But we tend to limit ourselves to one or two types of activity. “People do what they enjoy, or what feels the most effective, so some aspects of exercise and fitness are ignored. In reality, we should all be doing aerobics, stretching, strengthening, and balance exercises. Here, we list what you need to know about each exercise type and offer examples to try, with a doctor’s okay.

Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories—endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they’re doing enough. Each type is different, though. Doing them all will give you more benefits. Mixing it up also helps to reduce boredom and cut your risk of injury.

Though we’ve described each type separately, some activities fit into more than one category. For example, many endurance activities also build strength. Strength exercises also help improve balance.

1. Aerobic

  • Aerobic exercise, which speeds up your heart rate and breathing, is important for many body functions. It gives your heart and lungs a workout and increases endurance. If you’re too winded to walk up a flight of stairs, that’s a good indicator that you need more aerobic exercise to help condition your heart and lungs, and get enough blood to your muscles to help them work efficiently.
  • Aerobic exercise also helps relax blood vessel walls, lower blood pressure, burn body fat, lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, boost mood, and raise “good” HDL cholesterol. Combined with weight loss, it can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, too. Over the long term, aerobic exercise reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls.
  • Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity. Try brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, dancing, or classes like step aerobics.

Marching in place  

Starting position: Stand tall with your feet together and arms at your sides.
Movement: Bend your elbows and swing your arms as you lift your knees.
March in a variety of styles:

  • March in place.
  • March four steps forward, and then four steps back.
  • March in place with feet wide apart.
  • Alternate marching feet wide and together (out, out, in, in).

Tips and techniques:

  • Look straight ahead, and keep your abs tight.
  • Breathe comfortably, and don’t clench your fists.

Make it easier: March slower and don’t lift your knees as high.
Make it harder: Lift your knees higher, march faster, and really pump your arms.

  1. Strength Training – As we age, we lose muscle mass. Strength training builds it back. Regular strength training will help you feel more confident and capable of daily tasks like carrying groceries, gardening, and lifting heavier objects around the house. Strength training will also help you stand up from a chair, get up off the floor, and go up stairs.

Strengthening your muscles not only makes you stronger, but also stimulates bone growth, lowers blood sugar, assists with weight control, improves balance and posture, and reduces stress and pain in the lower back and joints.

A physical therapist can design a strength training program that you can do two to three times a week at a gym, at home, or at work. It will likely include body weight exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges, and exercises involving resistance from a weight, a band, or a weight machine.

Remember, it’s important to feel some muscle fatigue at the end of the exercise to make sure you are working or training the muscle group effectively.

Squat :

Starting position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides.
Movement: Slowly bend your hips and knees, lowering your buttocks about eight inches, as if you’re sitting back into a chair. Let your arms swing forward to help you balance. Keep your back straight. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 8-12 times.

Tips and techniques:

  • Shift your weight into your heels.
  • Squeeze your buttocks as you stand to help you balance.

Make it easier: Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet hip-width apart and arms crossed over your chest. Tighten your abdominal muscles and stand up. Slowly sit down with control.
Make it harder: Lower farther, but not past your thighs being parallel to the floor.

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  1. Stretching – Stretching helps maintain flexibility. We often overlook that in youth, when our muscles are healthier. But aging leads to a loss of flexibility in the muscles and tendons. Muscles shorten and don’t function properly. That increases the risk for muscle cramps and pain, muscle damage, strains, joint pain, and falling, and it also makes it tough to get through daily activities, such as bending down to tie your shoes.

Likewise, stretching the muscles routinely makes them longer and more flexible, which increases your range of motion and reduces pain and the risk for injury.

Aim for a program of stretching every day or at least three or four times per week.

Warm up your muscles first, with a few minutes of dynamic stretches—repetitive motion such as marching in place or arm circles. That gets blood and oxygen to muscles, and makes them amenable to change.

Then perform static stretches (holding a stretch position for up to 60 seconds) for the calves, the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, and the muscles of the shoulders, neck, and lower back.

However, don’t push a stretch into the painful range. That tightens the muscle and is counterproductive.

 

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Single knee rotation :

Starting position: Lie on your back with your legs extended on the floor.
Movement: Relax your shoulders against the floor. Bend your left knee and place your left foot on your right thigh just above the knee. Tighten your abdominal muscles, then grasp your left knee with your right hand and gently pull it across your body toward your right side.
Hold 10 to 30 seconds.
Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Tips and techniques:

  • Stretch to the point of mild tension, not pain.
  • Try to keep both shoulders flat on the floor.
  • To increase the stretch, look in the direction opposite to your knee.

4 Balance Exercise – Improving your balance makes you feel steadier on your feet and helps prevent falls. It’s especially important as we get older, when the systems that help us maintain balance—our vision, our inner ear, and our leg muscles and joints—tend to break down. “The good news is that training your balance can help prevent and reverse these losses,” says Wilson.

Many senior centers and gyms offer balance-focused exercise classes, such as tai chi or yoga. It’s never too early to start this type of exercise, even if you feel you don’t have balance problems.

You can also go to a physical therapist, who can determine your current balance abilities and prescribe specific exercises to target your areas of weakness. That’s especially important if you’ve had a fall or a near-fall, or if you have a fear of falling.

Typical balance exercises include standing on one foot or walking heel to toe, with your eyes open or closed. The physical therapist may also have you focus on joint flexibility, walking on uneven surfaces, and strengthening leg muscles with exercises such as squats and leg lifts. Get the proper training before attempting any of these exercises at home.

Standing Knee lift :

Starting position: Stand up straight with your feet together and your hands on your hips.

Movement: Lift your left knee toward the ceiling as high as is comfortable or until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold, then slowly lower your knee to the starting position.

Repeat the exercise 3-5 times.

Then perform the exercise 3-5 times with your right leg.

Tips and techniques:

  • Keep your chest lifted and your shoulders down and back.
  • Lift your arms out to your sides to help you balance, if needed.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles throughout.
  • Tighten the buttock of your standing leg for stability.
  • Breathe comfortably.

Make it easier: Hold on to the back of a chair or counter with one hand.

Make it harder: Lower your leg all the way to the floor without touching it. Just as it is about to touch, lift your leg up again.

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5 Anaerobic

Anaerobic exercises increase the force your muscle contractions can generate, and may increase your strength, speed or power output. Weightlifting, sprinting and polymetrics are examples of anaerobic exercise. This type of exercise involves performing fewer, and more intense, muscle contractions than aerobic exercise. For example, heavy weightlifting exercises exhaust your muscles after fewer contractions, because each contraction is particularly intense. Anaerobic exercises, which exhaust your muscles in 15 or fewer repetitions, may provide optimal strength gains. Increasing the power of each contraction may require exercises that exhaust your muscles in under six repetitions.

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6 Cycling for weight loss

It’s challenging, sociable and offers a great workout. Suitable for everyone, any age or level of fitness, cycling helps weight loss as it burns calories, improves health and gets you out and about.

More and more cycle paths are being opened and biking to lose weight is becoming a more comfortable and enjoyable option. What a great way to get out in the fresh air and help your weight loss goals!

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 7 Spinning – A high calorie burning workout

Spinning is a high calorie-burning workout for people of all ages and fitness levels. It uses special spin cycles that, unlike stationary bikes, perform like road bikes. For this reason, spin cycles offer the exerciser a more complete workout.  Spin cyclists, sit in a racing position and lean forward toward the handlebars. When resistance is at its greatest during the spin workout, the cyclist is free to stand up out of the saddle, using muscles in the back, chest, upper arms (biceps and triceps), buttocks (gluteus maximus), entire legs, and abdomen. With more muscle groups engaged, the heart works harder as it sends oxygen-rich blood where it’s needed.

Although spinning requires a moderate financial investment compared with walking or running, its superior results make the investment worthwhile. Spinning workout provides a very high heart rate response and high calorie expenditure.

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8 Jump Rope

Burn 135 calories in just 10 minutes with this jump rope workout that  sculpt your shoulders, chest, arms, and legs.

How to jump rope –

  • Jump 1 to 2 inches off floor, giving rope just enough space to slip under feet — only the balls of feet should touch the floor.
  • Keep elbows close to sides as you turn the rope. The movement comes from the wrists and forearms, not the shoulders.
  • If you tire out before you finish the workout, drop the rope, but keep arms and legs going. Work up to using the rope full-time.
  • To find a rope that fits, place one foot in the center of the rope and lift the handles — they shouldn’t go past your armpits.

Different type of rope exercise are single jump, Step touch, front back, Double jump, Slalom, running and jumping jack

9 Stair Climber 

A stair climber could be the secret to burning major calories during your workout. Stair climber machine, step mill, StairMaster, stair stepper machine, stair workout machine, step machine, step climber—there are tons of names for this machine. It became a fan favorite after being introduced in the 1980s due to its low impact nature. It’s also popular due to its ability to increase both endurance and stamina.

Stair climber workouts allow you to burn calories while developing strength and power. You can modify to make your stair climber workout more challenging or add variability, such as intervals, taking stairs one step at a time in a workout for beginners, or exploring the challenge of two or three steps at a time.

If you have any lower back or knee pain, warm up with basic mobility exercises for your foot, ankle, hips, and spine prior to getting on the stair climber. Foam roll your calves, inner thighs, quads, glutes, and mid-back. This will hydrate your tissues and help create more space between your joints so you can climb more without pain, tightness, or stiffness.

 

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10 Step Aerobics –

Step aerobics is a classic cardio workout. It’s lasted for decades because it delivers results.

The “step” is a 4-inch to 12-inch raised platform. You step up, around, and down from the platform in different patterns to boost your heart rate and breathing, and strengthen your muscles.

Step aerobics moves range from simple to advanced. The most basic is a step-up, step-down. Once you get more experienced, you do moves that take you over the top and around the step forwards, sideways, and backwards.

Most people take step aerobics classes at a gym, with an instructor showing you each move. The instructor and the upbeat music motivate you to keep going.

Your class will start with a warm-up, followed by choreographed routines on the step, and a cool down at the end. In some classes, you’ll use hand weights for strength-training moves off the step.

Areas it targets –

  • Core: Yes. Your core muscles stabilize you as you’re stepping. You’ll also burn fat and get stronger abs.
  • Arms: Yes. Your lower body is the star of step aerobics, but you may also use your arms and do strength- training exercises with weights specifically for your arms.
  • Legs: Yes. Stepping up and down works your calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
  • Glutes: Yes. All those step-ups strengthen and tone your buttocks.
  • Back: Yes. You’ll use the muscles in your lower back with each step.

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11 Calisthenics –

The word calisthenics comes from the Greek words kallos (beauty) and sthenos (strength). Indeed, there’s a timeless beauty to training for strength and flexibility via pushing, pulling, lunging, and lifting movements using little to no equipment. When performed in a continuous, rigorous fashion, calisthenics train up your strength and aerobic capacity.

Calisthenics prescribed by generations of drill sergeants and gym teachers have been rebranded in recent years as body-weight exercises. Much of what constitutes CrossFit, boot camps, and obstacle race training is simply calisthenics, except with better marketing and packaging.

Calisthenics is best described as a workout mostly using your own body weight. By training it, not only will you develop an amazing physique but you will also gain superb body control by learning a range of advanced movements. To begin the only things you need are motivation and a structured program. Keep in mind that nothing comes easy, but if you are looking for a passion that will dramatically change your life – Calisthenics is the way to go.

If You have just 15 minutes in the morning while traveling, not even enough time to venture to the  gym. You have time for three sets of these.

Pushups (10), Lateral Lunge (10 per side), Plank (One Minute), Squats (10), Crunches (20).

The great thing about calisthenics is that you can do them anywhere.  They’re a great way to exercise and stay active all day long.

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12 Circuit Training –

Circuit training is a style of workout where you cycle through several exercises (usually five to 10) targeting different muscle groups with minimal rest in between. The result is a workout that taxes your muscular strength and endurance and your cardio respiratory system.

Why Circuit train

There are many reasons to use circuit training including:

  • Time – circuits shorten gym sessions and are time efficient.
  • Lean up – training with circuits in a particular way has been shown to get folks ripped. Explained further below.
  • Improves conditioning and muscular endurance.
  • Works whole body – contrary to popular belief there is nothing wrong in doing full body sessions 2-4 times per week.
  • Circuit training can be done outside the gym and without equipment.

While circuit training has a ton of benefits, figuring out how to set up an effective circuit workout on your own can be intimidating at first. That’s why we pulled together six easy steps to help you build your perfect circuit workout.

  1. Select your time limit.
  2. Pick an upper body exercise – Shoulder press, Pushups, Bent-over row Etc.,
  3. Pic a lower body exercise – Forward lunge, Calf raise, Sumo Squat Etc.,
  4. Pick a compound exercise – Jumping lunge,mountain climbers, Bench hop-over Etc.,
  5. Choose a sprint for 1 minute – Running, Rowing, Cycling Etc.,
  6. Rest for 1 minute – You’ve earned it. Let your heart rate come down and then go back through the circuit as many times as you’d like for a complete workout.

 

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13 Swimming –

Swimming is an activity that burns lots of calories, is easy on the joints, supports your weight, builds muscular strength and endurance. It also improves cardiovascular fitness, cools you off and refreshes you in summer, and is one that you can do safely into old age. Today swimming is the second most popular exercise activity.

Different type of swimming styles comprises of Breaststroke, Backstroke, Butterfly and Freestyle ( Crawl ). The breaststroke and butterfly are more difficult to learn than the backstroke and crawl.

Breaststroke –  The basics are that your arms pull, you breathe, you kick (arms alternate with the kick), and you glide. Breaststroke involves form that causes your body to bob up and down as you glide forward through the water.Its not for learners.

Backstroke – The backstroke is easier than the butterfly or breaststroke and similar to the crawl in that you use an alternate windmill arm stroke and flutter kick. Two keys to a proper backstroke are that your arms move with equal strength, otherwise you will swim off to one side, and that your body rolls from side to side so that your arms catch enough water to propel you forward.

Butterfly – Like the breaststroke, this is a difficult stroke and not recommended for beginners because it requires perfect timing and a good deal of strength. During the stroke, the legs move together in a dolphin kick (imagine a mermaid), the arms move together to push the water downward and backward, and the torso undulates like an earthworm as the body moves forward through the water.

Freestyle – This is the most popular stroke and the easiest for beginners to learn. It is a simple flutter kick and windmill arm motion, like the backstroke, only on your belly. The most difficult part is coordinating the breathing since your face is in the water most of the time.

 

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14 Rowing machine –

While the rowing machine is an incredibly efficient, full-body workout that allows the athlete to build aerobic endurance and muscular strength at the same time, a lack of proper technique and training is common among gym-goers and can lead to injuries and misuse.

In order to get the most out of your time on the rowing machine you should:

  • Incorporate these erg workouts into your fitness routine.
  • Make sure to avoid the following common mistakes and always keep an eye on technical focuses during the workout, even when you’re feeling fatigued.
  • Take some time to get to know the machine itself and understand the way the screen settings work.

Experienced collegiate crews make the rowing stroke look easy and pretty darn effortless. But make no mistake, the rowing stroke is nuanced, complex, and can take years to master on the water. Luckily for those of you at the gym, the erg is a far simpler machine that can be perfected with some basic knowledge of technique and a little bit of practice

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15 Weight Training –

This workout is designed for overall health and fitness gains of a healthy, adult individual who has never lifted weights before, or who is very inexperienced at it.

Weight training involves using some type of resistance to do a variety of exercises designed to challenge all your muscle groups, including your chest, back, shoulder, biceps, triceps, core, and lower body.

The idea is that, when you use more resistance than your body normally handles, your muscles get stronger, along with your bones and connective tissue, all while building lean muscle tissue.

Weight training doesn’t mean you have to use things like dumbbells or machines, although those work. Anything that provides resistance can do the job—resistance bands, barbells, a heavy backpack, or, if you’re a beginner, your own body weight might be enough to get you started.

Benefits of Weight training –

  • Help raise your metabolism—Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn all day long.
  • Strengthen bones, especially important for women.
  • Strengthen connective tissue—As we get older, we need to protect our tendons and ligaments, and a strong body can help you do that.
  • Make you stronger and increase muscular endurance—This makes everyday activities much easier.
  • Help you avoid injuries.
  • Increase your confidence and self-esteem.
  • Improve coordination and balance

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16 Brisk Walking  –

Brisk walking is moderate-intensity exercise and has more benefits for fitness and reducing health risks than walking at an easy pace. How fast you must walk for it to be considered a brisk pace depends on your fitness level. Learn what you can do to improve your walking technique so you can boost your average walking speed.

A brisk walking pace is 3.0 miles per hour or about 20 minutes per mile, which is about 5 kilometers per hour or 12 minutes per kilometer. You can calculate your walking pace after measuring the time it takes you to walk a mile or a kilometer. Walking speedometers and apps that use GPS or step cadence also can be used to display your walking speed.

Brisk walking refers to your exertion rather than your speed. Exertion is measured by your heart rate and breathing rate. For your walking pace to be brisk, you need to be breathing harder than usual. While you should be able to speak in full sentences, you shouldn’t be able to sing.

Walking techniques for faster walking –

Walking posture –

  1.  Stand up straight, without arching you back.
  2. Do not lean forward or back.
  3. Keep your eyes forward and don’t look down. Focus 20 feet ahead.
  4. Your head should be up so your chin is parallel to the ground, reducing strain on your neck and back.
  5. Your head should be up so your chin is parallel to the ground, reducing strain on your neck and back.
  6. Suck in your stomach. Keep your abdominal muscles firm but not overly tightened.
  7. Tuck in your behind by rotating your hips forward slightly. This will keep you from arching your back.
  8. Your head should remain level as you walk, all motion should take place from the shoulders down.
  9. Relax your jaw to avoid tension in your neck.

Walking don’ts

  1. Do not over stride.2. Do not use too vigorous arm movements3. Do not look at the ground4. Do not hunch your shoulders5. Do not carry hand weights or place weights on your ankles

When you are able to walk briskly for 15 to 30 minutes, you can use your new brisk walking technique to build fitness and ensure you are getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.

17. Box Jump –

This is a dynamic exercise that only requires an elevated surface. Once you figure that part out, you’re ready to break a serious sweat. Just jump up onto the box/park bench/bed/etc. and then jump down again. Repeat this until your lower body is destroyed.

18. Plank –

Plank is possibly the best exercise to strengthen your core. Regularly performing different plank variations for 15 minutes will improve your posture and flexibility, reduces belly fat, builds stamina, uplift your mood, and even reduce back pain. In fact, people who consistently plank stand tall amongst the tallest, look the best amongst the best dressed, and feel confident amongst the figuresque!

To do this exercise you have to hold yourself up off the ground. You can also modify the exercise by turning to the side and holding yourself on one elbow. This is one of the best things you can do for your core.

Plank exercises – Traditional plank, Forearm plank, Side elbow plank, Star forearm plank, Hip Hips, Hip twists, Side arm plank, Star side arm plank, Rolling plank, Plank with leg lift, Plank up-downs, Plank with oblique crunch, Swiss ball plank, Tummy tucks, Plank row, Plank with legs on exercise ball, Plank pikes, Reverse plank, Reverse plank with leg lift, Plank with donkey kicks, halfway plank,.

Common plank rules –

  • Keep your shoulder blades pulled down.
  • Your legs, buttocks, and hips should be in the same line.
  • Keep your core and glutes engaged.
  • Do not strain your neck. Keep it in a neutral position, look down at the floor or up at the ceiling.
  • Refrain from curving your lower back as much as possible.
19. Dancercise –
Dance can be one of the best exercises to tone your body and strip you of fat, without feeling like you’re slaving away in the gym. Great for toning up those abs and building glutes and leg muscles, dancercise is a great way to add a bit of fun and variety into your normal cardio training. You will certainly feel the benefits of burning some calories and injecting some fun through popular music routines. Dance classes are a lot of fun and tend to be very sociable – plus the high concentration factor means you’ll hardly be aware that you are doing a ‘workout’. That said, there are so many different types of dance to try that you are sure to get the hang of one of them.
 20. Extend –
Extend is perfect for the older generation and those with disabilities to have some fun and add a bit of exercise to their routine, without the hard impact of regular fitness classes. Extend is a great way to include the benefits of a fitness class without the strain of regular classes. Carried out in a chair, you may think that a workout sitting down isn’t much of a workout, but even those with good fitness levels can work hard and feel that burn whilst sitting down.

21. Fusion –

Getting bored of your bog standard spin or yoga class, then fusion is the answer for you, fusing two or more types of exercise together to make you work twice as hard. The combinations of different fitness classes means you get double the benefits, anywhere from fitness and endurance to flexibility and mobility, anything and everything involved in exercise is improved in some way by fusion’s combinatory nature. Anything from Hydroride, Piloxing and Disco yoga, the combinations are endless, it’s just about finding a class that appeals and works best for you.

22. Gymnastics –

Gymnastics can be great to gain overall body strength, flexibility and balance. Unlike weight training, gymnastics is a great way to gain overall body strength in one session, as you’re not just using the one or two muscles with resistance, instead you are fully engaging entire body strength, particularly working that core. Gymnastics is a great way to sculpt and tone your body, burning those calories with calisthenic exercises, whilst limbering you up and helping you into the splits in no time!

23. Insanity –

Combining cardio, resistance and circuit training, using no gym equipment but purely body weight resistance, insanity does what it says on the label, work you body to insane levels. As one of the hardest workouts, insanity pushes your body to the max in set routines over weeks, using three-minute intervals and 30 second recovery periods. Insanity increases your cardio and strength intensity with high-impact exercises and demanding interval programs. Perfect for those who have limited schedules and cannot find time to go the gym, insanity is perfect for working the body hard without the time or money commitment.

24. jumping –

Jumping is the crazy new fitness class that involves a high cardio workout of basic choreographed jumping around on an individual trampoline to fast paced music. As an exciting new form of fitness. Jumping is a great way to increase your cardio whilst working the legs and bum. Any youtube video will show a high energy leg workout as the class does some fast paced jumps whilst holding on the handles. Guaranteed to burn those calories whilst working those muscles.

25. Kickboxercise –

Boxercise and kickboxercise are derivatives of boxing and kickboxing and use the drills and techniques of their respective sports in a non-contact setting, usually in the form of a circuit. For example, you might find yourself shadow boxing, skipping, using punch bags or teaming up with a partner to punch or kick focus pads. Both are considered one of the best all-round high intensity exercise classes to get you in great shape. One study found that people felt more calm, more focused and less anxious after a kickboxing class. Taking out all that aggression on a punch bag can therefore be a great stress reliever!

26. Nia Technique –

Nia is a new form of exercise thats ideal form of low-impact dance exercise, engaging both the mind and body through cardio movements and strength training. Concerning 52 dance movements, inspired by a variety of dance forms, including modern, tai chi and taekwondo to a multitude of music genres, whilst mixing it up with a bit of yoga. If you’re getting bored of the standard dance classes, nia-technique is a less impactive and alternative version of regular dance exercise, whilst still engaging the cardio and strength forms of exercise.

27. Pilates –

Similar to yoga, Pilates uses controlled movements, calming the mind, but demanding more of your muscles and control than the balance centred yoga moves. Pilates usually involves alternating and repeating movements whilst holding your body and core still and controlled. This exercise is perfect for cooling down after some cardio, yet still engaging your muscles for a hard workout, whilst clearing the mind and learning good breath control.

28. Rope Training –

Such a simple form of training, but rope classes are a great way to include an intense muscle workout whilst having a bit of fun! Let’s face it waving big ropes around as fast as you can for a short period of time is a very intense workout, feeling it in the upper body immediately. Plus when working together the motivation bouncing off each other is ideal to get those arms pumping faster. Sometimes trying new things in the gym can be daunting, for fear of doing it wrong or looking weak and feeble, but joining a rope class is a great way to get started without the funny looks you may get in the gym. 

 

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Click here for Health Benefits

Everyone is looking to get an edge in their personal and professional lives. And while most people know that exercise can make you feel good and help keep you sharp, few people realize how deep the benefits really go, especially for the brain.

Not only is exercise the most scientifically proven cognitive enhancer, the brain benefits of exercise can touch almost every aspect of your life.

Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.

It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia.
    1. Exercise is great for your brain : It’s linked to less depression, better memory and quicker learning. Studies also suggest that exercise is, as of now, the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
    2. You might get happier – Countless studies show that many types of exercise, from walking to cycling, make people feel better and can even relieve symptoms of depression. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain—serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine—that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress.
    3. It might make you age slower – Exercise has been shown to lengthen lifespan by as much as five years. A small new study suggests that moderate-intensity exercise may slow down the aging of cells. As humans get older and their cells divide over and over again, their telomeres—the protective caps on the end of chromosomes—get shorter.
    4. It’ll make your skin look better – Aerobic exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health and even help wounds heal faster. “That’s why when people have injuries, they should get moving as quickly as possible—not only to make sure the muscle doesn’t atrophy, but to make sure there’s good blood flow to the skin. The skin also serves as a release point for heat. The heat in the muscle transfers to the blood, which shuttles it to the skin; it can then escape into the atmosphere.
    5. Amazing things can happen in just a few minutes – Psychologists have proved that micro workout of about 10 minutes with few seconds interval, carry hard-as-you can exercise followed by brief recoveries. This option resulted in identical improvements in heart function and blood-sugar control, even though one workout was five times longer than the other. If you’re willing and able to push hard, you can get away with surprisingly little exercise.
    6. It can help you recover from major illness – Even very vigorous exercise—like the interval workouts can, in fact, be appropriate for people with different chronic conditions, from Type 2 diabetes to heart failure. Few hundred Clinical trials discovered  that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.
    7. Your FAT cells will shrink – The body uses both carbohydrates and fats as energy sources. But after consistent aerobic exercise training, the body gets better at burning fat, which requires a lot of oxygen to convert it into energy. One of the benefits of exercise training is that our cardiovascular system gets stronger and better at delivering oxygen, so we are able to metabolize more fat as an energy source. As a result, your fat cells—which produce the substances responsible for chronic low-grade inflammation—shrink, and so does inflammation.
    8. It is good for your muscles and bones- Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles and bones. Physical activity like weight lifting can stimulate muscle building when paired with adequate protein intake.

As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to injuries and disabilities. Practicing regular physical activity is essential to reducing muscle loss and maintaining strength as you age. Exercise helps build bone density when you’re younger, in addition to helping prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Interestingly, high-impact exercise, such as gymnastics or running, or odd-impact sports, such as soccer and basketball, have been shown to promote a higher bone density than non-impact sports like swimming and cycling.

  1. It can increase your energy level – Exercise can be a real energy booster for healthy people, as well as those suffering from various medical conditions.

One study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue for 36 healthy people who had reported persistent fatigue. Furthermore, exercise can significantly increase energy levels for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other serious illnesses.

In fact, exercise seems to be more effective at combating CFS than other treatments, including passive therapies like relaxation and stretching, or no treatment at all.

  1. It can help with relaxation and sleep quality – Regular exercise can help you relax and sleep better. In regards to sleep quality, the energy depletion that occurs during exercise stimulates recuperative processes during sleep.

Moreover, the increase in body temperature that occurs during    exercise is thought to improve sleep quality by helping it drop during sleep

  1. It can reduce pain – Chronic pain can be debilitating, but exercise can actually help reduce it. In fact, for many years, the recommendation for treating chronic pain was rest and inactivity. However, recent studies show that exercise helps relieve chronic pain. A review of several studies indicates that exercise helps participants with chronic pain reduce their pain and improve their quality of life
  2. It can promote a better sex life – Exercise has been proven to boost sex drive. Engaging in regular exercise can strengthen the cardiovascular system, improve blood circulation, tone muscles and enhance flexibility, all of which can improve your sex life. Physical activity can improve sexual performance and sexual pleasure, as well as increase the frequency of sexual activity.
  3. Learn to set -and achieve –goals – Whether it’s deciding to run a 10K, increasing the amount you can deadlift or increasing your bike mileage, setting and achieving fitness goals is an incredible self-confidence boost. By discovering the power of goal setting by committing to reaching an exercise milestone and then working out just how you’ll achieve it, you can enjoy the benefits of exercise and the confidence that comes along with it.
  4. Reduce your risk of heart disease naturally – Get out of the medicine cabinet and reduce your risk of heart disease the natural way. During various trials it was found that no statistically detectable differences existed between those who exercised and those who were given medications in the prevention of coronary heart disease and prediabetes.

In fact, in those patients who already had suffered a stroke, physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatment. Work with your doctor to set up an exercise plan that works for you.

  1. Increase strength and flexibility – If strength training and stretching aren’t a part of your fitness routine, it’s time to incorporate them. It increases your body’s flexibility, helping everyday tasks become easier. It also sends more blood to your muscles, improving circulation, and can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also increased muscle helps your body burn calories more efficiently long after your workout is over. Just a few minutes a day of deep stretching can make a difference.
  2. Improves memory – Aerobic exercise, like running or swimming, boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning, in women with a recognized risk factor for dementia. Besides looking to brain food to boost your memory and mental skills.
  3. Increases Self Confidence – Exercising can help you feel better about yourself — no matter what type of workout you do or how fit you are. One study found that ‘the simple act of exercise and not fitness itself can convince you that you look better’. With so much emphasis on our outward appearances in society today, it’s comforting to know that one of the benefits of exercise helps people feel better about themselves and how they look naturally.
  4. Perform better at work – Could the key to being more productive and happier at work lie in exercise? One study thinks so. It found that those employees who worked out before work or during their lunch hour reported feeling less stress and being happier and more productive than days when they skipped a workout. Not only that, but they also performed better on exercise days. It’s the perfect excuse for a lunchtime stroll or walking meeting.
  5. Help you quit smoking – Exercise may make it easier to quit smoking by reducing your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can also help limit the weight you might gain when you stop smoking.
  6. Help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. Exercise stimulates your body to release proteins and other chemicals that improve the structure and function of your brain.
  7. Reduce your risk of some cancers, including colon, breast, uterine, and lung
  8. Reduce your risk of falls. For older adults, research shows that doing balance and muscle-strengthening activities in addition to moderate-intensity aerobic activity can help reduce your risk of falling.
  9. Fights Depression – Depression is one of the most common mental conditions that affects people worldwide. A large meta-analysis  analyzed the effect of exercise on alleviating symptoms of depression. Reviews  showed that exercise was found to be just as effective as the other alternatives.
  10. Enjoy the great outdoors – For an extra boost of self-love, take that workout outside. Exercising in the great outdoors can increase self-esteem even more . Find an outdoor workout that fits your style, whether it’s rock-climbing, hiking, renting a canoe, or just taking a jog in the park.
  11. Prevent cognitive decline – Working out, especially between age 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.
  12. Alleviate anxiety – The warm and fuzzy chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders calm down. Hopping on the track or treadmill for some moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety sensitivity.
  13. Tap into creativity – Supercharge post-workout inspiration by exercising outdoors and interacting with nature. Next time you need a burst of creative thinking, hit the trails for a long walk or run to refresh the body and the brain at the same time.
  14. Inspire others – Whether it’s a pick-up game of soccer, a group class at the gym, or just a run with a friend, exercise rarely happens in a bubble. And that’s good news for all of us. Studies show that most people perform better on aerobic tests when paired up with a workout buddy. Even fitness beginners can inspire each other to push harder during a sweat session, so find a workout buddy and get moving!
  15. Exercise improves your executive function – Exercise in multiple studies found positive effects for all ages in normal healthy participants. Overall, researchers found that exercise is a simple way for healthy people to optimize their higher order brain functions.
  16. Gives you more willpower – Exercise is one path that can increase your willpower. Short bouts of exercise had a significant affect across allage groups in areas of executive function, along with inhibition and interference control – which is better known as willpower.
  17. Increases pain tolerance – It has been pretty well documented that intense exercise can dull pain in the short term. Your body releases endorphins and other chemicals during and shortly after exercise that will decrease pain in the body.
  18. Helps you eat healthier – If you’ve ever started an exercise program and stuck with it for a period of time, you may have noticed your eating habits changing as well. Apparently this is a happy side effect of exercise.
  19. Jumpstart learning – There are some other related exercise benefits that are most likely responsible for improved learning. The sharper memory, an increase in attention, and exercises ability to spur the growth of new brains cells would be the big ones.  They can all play a vital role in helping one learn and retain new information.
  20. Increases your productivity – Exercise impacts more than your academic or personal life. It can also have a positive effect on your professional life as well. Researchers found that people reported several positive effects in the workplace from working out during their break or if they exercised before work. The benefits included better time management, better mood, and increased employee tolerance. On days were employees didn’t exercise, the benefits were not seen.

 

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Click here for Health Benefits in brief

Below are 100 benefits of exercise some of them are covered in detail under benefits of exercise.

  1. Reduces blood pressure
    2. Reduces cholesterol levels
    3. Increases the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol in the blood)
    4. Reduces chances for coronary heart disease
    5. Increases efficiency of heart and lowers resting heart rate
    6. Makes heart muscles stronger
    7. Improves contractile function of the heart
    8. Strengthens lungs
    9. Improves respiratory function
    10. Improves cardiovascular endurance and performance
    11. Provides more oxygen to body, including organs and muscles
    12. Provides more nutrient supply to the body
    13. Reduces chances for stroke
    14. Helps to alleviate varicose veins
    15. Increases metabolic rate
    16. Stimulates digestion
    17. Makes digestion more efficient
    18. Stimulates intestinal movements, resulting in better elimination of wastes
    19. Reduces changes for colon cancer
    20. Strengthens and develops muscles
    21. Increases efficiency of muscles
    22. Benefits joints due to stronger muscles
    23. Helps maintain cartilage health in the joints
    24. Eases muscular tension
    25. Alleviates back problems
    26. Increases muscle flexible and agility
    27. Improves speed of muscle contraction and reaction time
    28. More healthy skin due to the fact that skin pores open more during exercise, resulting in more efficient removal of dirt and impurities
    29. Burns up and removes toxins from body
    30. Increases blood flow to the brain
    31. Stimulates growth of nerve cells in memory center of the brain
    32. Improves various indexes of psychological functioning
    33. Enhances brain functioning by increasing the amount of oxygen available to it
    34. Increases sense of well being
    35. Increases resistance to pain because endorphin levels are elevated
    36. Increases sense of excitement because hormone epinephrine is elevated
    37. Alleviates boredom
    38. Lessens worry and tension
    39. Reduces stress by removing lactic acid from blood
    40. Alleviates anxiety and/or pain because tranquilizing effect of exercise lasts for several hours
    41. Enhances mood
    42. Reduces anxiety more effectively and safely than anxiety-reducing medication
    43. Boosts energy
    44. Improves self-esteem and self-confidence since body and mind are improved and strengthened
    45. Increases sense of self control
    46. Provides source of pleasure and fun
    47. Releases anger and negative emotions
    48. Reduces depression more effective than short or long-term psychotherapy
    49. Enhances coordination, power, timing and balance
    50. Boosts immune system functioning
    51. Reduces severity of asthma
    52. Improves functioning of organs
    53. Can relieve tension headaches
    54. Can reduce the urge to smoke because the adrenaline rush and stress relief from a brief workout can replace similar feelings smokers get from tobacco
    55. Burns calories
    56. Causes body to use calories more efficiently
    57. Causes weight loss
    58. Allows one to keep lost weight from returning
    59. Can act as an appetite suppressant
    60. Decreases fat tissue
    61. Improves physical appearance
    62. Enhances one’s image and opinion of the body
    63. Improves bone density and prevents osteoporosis
    64. Reduces joint discomfort
    65. Help manage arthritis
    66. Allows one to feel better about their bodies and enjoy sex more as a result
    67. Provides enhanced ability to achieve orgasm
    68. Allows for greater sexual satisfaction
    69. Can reduce or eliminate impotence due to increased blood flow
    70. Prevents or manages type 2 diabetes
    71. Helps insulin work better, lowering blood sugar
    72. Has a significant salutary effect on fibrinogen levels
    73. Alleviates menstrual cramps
    74. Improves athletic performance
    75. Can add years to one’s life
    76. Enhances quality of life
    77. Reduces pain and disability
    78. Improves glycogen storage
    79. Reduces risk of developing certain types of cancers of the colon, prostate, uterine lining and breast and other chronic diseases
    80. Regulates hormones
    81. Allows you to overcome illness or injury more quickly
    82. Can lessen medical bills
    83. Reduces anxiety by causing fewer worries about health
    84. Can allow for better performance at work
    85. Allows one to stay independent as they get older
    86. Can keep health care insurance premiums lower
    87. Makes one more attractive to potential mates
    88. Allows for healthy pregnancy
    89. Increases energy and ability to do things one likes
    90. Allows you to be more productive and less stymied by stress and depression
    91. Can help make possible increased income due to increased energy
    92. Allows one to become more familiar with their body and its functioning
    93. Can stimulate mentally
    94. Lets one eat more without gaining weight
    95. Provides a healthy break from work
    96. Adds variety and spice to life
    97. Gives one increased ability to defend oneself and loved ones if needed
    98. Provides a natural high afterwards, such as runners’ high
    99. Provides heightened alertness
    100. Reduces inflammation.

 

Exercise offers incredible benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out.

Stay Safe

Almost anyone, at any age, can safely do some kind of exercise and physical activity. You can be active even if you have a long-term condition, like heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis. Staying safe while you exercise is always important, whether you’re just starting a new activity or you haven’t been active for a long time. Be sure to review the specific safety tips related to endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises.

Talking with Your Healthcare Provider

Most people don’t need to check with their health care provider first before doing physical activity. However, you may want to talk with your health care provider if you aren’t used to energetic activity and you want to start a vigorous exercise program or significantly increase your physical activity. Your activity level is an important topic to discuss with your health care provider as part of your ongoing health care.

Ask how physical activity can help you, whether you should avoid certain activities, and how to modify exercises to fit your situation.

Other reasons to talk with your health care provider:

  • Any new symptoms you haven’t yet discussed
  • Dizziness, shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • The feeling that your heart is skipping, racing, or fluttering
  • Blood clots
  • An infection or fever with muscle aches
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Foot or ankle sores that won’t heal
  • Joint swelling
  • A bleeding or detached retina, eye surgery, or laser treatment
  • A hernia
  • Recent hip or back surgery

Keep Going – You’ve made a plan to be more active. You may have even started to exercise. But how do you keep going? How do you make exercise and physical activity a permanent part of your daily life?

Set yourself up to succeed right from the start.

  • Make exercise a priority. Put physical activity on your “to do” list every day.
  • Make it easy and fun. Do things you enjoy, but pick up the pace a bit.
  • Make it social. Ask a friend or family member to be your exercise buddy.
  • Make it happen. Choose to be active in many places and many ways.

And don’t worry if your exercise routine is interrupted. You can start again and be successful!

Be sure to set realistic goals, regularly check your progress and celebrate your successes. And don’t forget why you’re being active. Focus on the benefits, like feeling stronger and having more energy. Soon, you’ll notice that you can do things easier, faster, or for longer than before. If you can stick with an exercise routine or physical activity for at least 6 months, it’s a good sign that you’re on your way to making it a regular habit.

And, of course — record your physical activity, track your progress, and find new ways to be physically active.

 

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